Lagniappe – Joseph Martin
Sunday, August 31, 2014, 7:00 AM

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! ~ Psalm 118:24

Pathway of Hope

The road is long, the way is narrow,
The path is steep, the mountains high.
Lord, when we walk through valleys filled with fear,
You wipe away our tears,
We know that You are near. (more…)



Cardinal Wuerl: Where Are the Voices?
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 12:08 PM



Mere Links 08.29.14
Friday, August 29, 2014, 10:00 AM

India Christians Still Await Justice Six Years After Radical Hindu Attack
Anto Akkara , Aleteia

But Hindus and Muslim join Christians in solidarity march to mark anniversary.

Dostoevsky’s The Eternal Husband: Adultery, Butchery, and Prophecy
Sean Fitzpatrick, Crisis Magazine

Pulsing through The Eternal Husband like a pounding heartbeat is an almost unbearable discomfort caused by implicit fear and hatred. Though it is truly almost unbearable, it is worth bearing, even barely, for the sheer vicarious experience of it all.

Thuggery wins, free speech rights lose
Eugene Volokh, Washington Post

Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated. People who are willing to use violence to suppress speech will learn that such behavior is effective, at least when the police don’t come down particularly hard on the thuggery.

Utah Polygamy Law Partially Struck Down By Federal Judge Following ‘Sister Wives’ Lawsuit
Mark Hanrahan, International Business Times

A federal judge has struck down part of Utah’s anti-polygamy law, following a lawsuit brought by the family featured in the reality TV show “Sister Wives.”



Mere Links 08.28.14
Thursday, August 28, 2014, 10:00 AM

How Natural Family Planning Shaped My View of Sex
Liuan Huska, Christianity Today

A more intensive method of birth control reminded me that it’s God who’s in control.

Modern Bondage: Slavery is Very Much Alive Today
Mark Gordon, Aleteia

From Nigerian schoolgirls to sex trafficking in the US, the total number would fill California.

Classical Education, Freedom, and the Ordered Soul
James V. Schall, S.J., Catholic World Report

Understanding is a spiritual thing, though rooted in really existing things, even ultimately in divine things.

The Wrong Kind of Christian
Tish Harrison Warren, Christianity Today

I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong.



Mere Links 08.27.14
Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 10:00 AM

How Tennessee incentivizes abortions
Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, The Week

We need legislation that protects pregnancy and mothers, not just unborn infants.

Thomas More: Virtuous Statesman
John M. Vella, The Imaginative Conservative

In Thomas More on Statesmanship, Wegemer, who teaches English literature at the University of Dallas, portrays a man who successfully synthesized the Christian humanism of his time with a deep appreciation of the broader legal and political traditions of England.

Hemmed in by Glory
http://preachersinstitute.com/2014/08/24/hemmed-in-by-glory/, Preachers Institute

I wonder how many of us have considered what is implied by the juxtaposition of two biblical verses that are, I concede, juxtaposed but rarely.

Abortion Advocacy Gets Ugly
Susan E. Wills, Aleteia

As the appeal of “choice” wanes, abortion promoters seek new ways to keep abortion legal.



Mere Links 08.26.14
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 10:00 AM

Heroic Sisters
Tom Hoopes, Aleteia

Some very gutsy religious who are, by the way, faithful to Church teaching.

Moses, Calvin, and the Puritans Would’ve Listened to NPR If They Were Around Today
Paul Seaton, Library of Law and Liberty

In literary terms, Marilynne Robinson is a national treasure. In political terms, not so much. “When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid,” as the nursery rhyme has it. Robinson might not even mind my saying that, by the way. As an essayist she deliberately tries to make countercultural moves, intellectually and spiritually.

What Makes A War Just?
Holly Scheer, The Federalist

With so many evils, persecutions, and abuses in the world, it’s hard to know which provide a moral pretext for declaring war.

Global religious hot spots get their own U.S. envoy
Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service

As the Islamic State tears across Iraq and Syria this summer, sending religious minorities fleeing for their lives, Congress created a new job at the State Department — one the president needs to fill immediately, say those who pushed for the position.



Mere Links 08.25.14
Monday, August 25, 2014, 10:00 AM

Making It A Fair Fight for the Devil
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

According to Athanasius of Alexandria, man’s repentance from sin would not have been sufficient to restore him to friendship with God. To imagine otherwise is to suppose an inadequate and unbiblical view of sin.

Why It’s Wrong for Christians to Mistreat Creation
Justin Holcomb, Chrisitanity.com

One reason Christians have been particularly weak in dealing with ecological issues and the deterioration of the natural environment is a misunderstanding of what it means to “have dominion” over creation.

Seeking Death: ‘Suicide Tourism’ to Switzerland Doubles
NBC News

More than 600 people traveled to Switzerland to die between 2008 and 2012, and the numbers doubled over those years, researchers reported Tuesday.

New HHS Rules Still Problematic for Religious Liberty
Barrett Duke and Andrew T. Walker, ERLC

When a law is revised eight times, it’s worth asking whether or not it should ever have been enacted in the first place.



We Are All The Giffords Now
Monday, August 25, 2014, 8:22 AM

Screen Shot 2014 08 25 at 8.20.19 AM 150x150 We Are All The Giffords NowCynthia and Robert Gifford own the Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, New York.  Each year, the Giffords open their farm to the public for raspberry and blueberry picking, fall festivals, and yes, even pig racing.  On occasion, they rent out the main barn at their farm for weddings.  In 2012, Melisa Erwin McCarthy and Jennifer McCarthy contacted the Giffords to rent the farm for their lesbian “wedding” and reception.  Why did they wish to marry on a farm?  Jennie had proposed to Melisa while they were apple picking at an orchard, and so the lovebirds wanted a farm and rustic theme for their wedding to “honor the memory” of their “engagement.”  Mrs. Gifford declined their request.  The Giffords explained that as they live on the upper floors of the main barn, they open part of the second floor of the barn as a bridal suite, and could not in good conscience host a lesbian “wedding.”

As seriously aggrieved and traumatized victims of this purported hatred by the Giffords, they filed a complaint against the Giffords with the New York Human Rights Commission for illegal discrimination.  At their hearing, Melisa and Jennie were represented by Arthur Eisenberg, Esq., of the New York Civil Liberties Foundation.  Being fully coached by Mr. Eisenberg for their hearing, Melisa testified that she was “shell-shocked” and felt “horrible” at the rejection by the Giffords.  Jennie found the rejection to be “heart-breaking,” and testified that it was a “blow” to her lesbianate coming-out process.  (No, I am not making that up; that is what she testified.)  In fact, the couple testified that they were so upset and traumatized by the Giffords’ rejection that they stopped looking for a wedding venue for several months.  (Perhaps it was the vision of big dollar signs that led to the supposed delay?)

After a hearing before the Human Rights Commission, on August 8, 2014, the Honorable Judge Migdalia Parés found that that “the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords’s] violation of the Human Rights Law warrants a penalty.”  Accordingly, Cynthia and Robert Gifford were fined $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman.  ($1,500 to each of the gals, and $10,000 to the State of New York.)  In one sense, the Giffords dodged a bullet in that Judge Parés could have fined them up to $50,000.  The judge further ordered that all employees of the Giffords undertake “anti-discrimination training.”  Of course, one can ask whether the government should be in the business of “re-educating” its citizens to change their moral beliefs.  That sounds more like North Korea or China to me.  And should the government, even a Democrat-controlled New York state government, be able to coerce a family farm into hosting a lesbian “wedding?”  The Giffords were given sixty days to pay the fine.  Whether they do remains to be seen.  But this case reminds me of what Henry David Thoreau wrote in his Civil Disobedience and Other Essays, “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator?  Why has every man a conscience then?  I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.”  It isn’t in the Holy Bible, but it so true that it could be.

In a free society, family farms should operate in accordance with the beliefs and values of their owners.  Frank Donatelli, writing recently in What Part of the Constitution Do Liberals Still Support?, available here, observed the following:

The last vestige of American liberty is certainly the First Amendment’s core guarantees of freedom of speech and religion. . . . If you doubt that, just check out how the bureaucrats are interpreting Obamacare and religious liberty.  Though not specifically required by Obamacare or any other law, Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats working with legal abortion absolutists, have issued regulations mandating that every business provide coverage for “morning after”-type contraceptive devices and drugs in their medical plans.  The Obama Justice Department argued that such an edict promulgated by bureaucrats trumped the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993, as well as the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.  Fortunately, plaintiffs prevailed in the Supreme Court (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores), but only by one vote, with four liberal justices siding with the bureaucrats.  In a related case, the Obama administration is attempting to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to adhere to the dictates of HHS regulators.  Apparently, even the core guarantees of the First Amendment must be sacrificed for the Greater Good.

Emphasis added.  Mr. Donatelli concludes his essay, “Be afraid.  Be very afraid.”  Indeed!  Please pray for the Giffords and their colleagues, but rejoice with them because they are blessed for being persecuted for standing for righteousness, for as our Lord Jesus taught us, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  We must never forget that Satan is at work whenever anyone, including another Christian, approves, supports, enables, or encourages others in any sinful behavior.  If you wish to write a note of encouragement to the Giffords, you can reach them at 29 Bevis Road, Schaghticoke, New York 12154.  And if you wish to telephone the Honorable Helen Diane Foster, Esq., the Acting Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights, to express your views, you can reach her at 718.741.8400.  I am sure she would enjoy hearing from regular folks.



Mere Links 08.22.14
Friday, August 22, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christ: The Trojan Horse of Redemption
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

The same monastic tradition that determined the psalms to be prayed at Thursday Matins also prescribed Psalms 75 and 91 (Hebrew 76 and 92) to be recited at Matins of Friday (Cf. The Rule of Saint Benedict, ch. 13).

The Korean Martyrs and the Power of Lay Witness
Marge Fenelon, Aleteia

The throngs who greeted Pope Francis in Korea are testimony to the power of the laity to spread the Faith.

Supreme Court Puts Gay Marriage on Hold in Virginia
Alan Rappeport, New York Times

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a last-minute order putting a hold on same-sex marriages in Virginia less than a day before officials there were to begin providing marriage licenses to gay couples.

The Moral Divide Between Progressives and Traditionalists
James Kalb, Crisis Magazine

A recent account of moral sentiments, proposed by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt in his book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Pantheon, 2012), has attracted attention for its explanation of the difference between progressives and traditionalists.



Is Ms. Turner the Victim of An Anti-Christian Government Teacher?
Friday, August 22, 2014, 9:12 AM

Dyer County High School is a government-run school located in Newbern, Tennessee, a small town of 3,300 souls in northwestern Tennessee.  Prior to a recent event, Newbern was best known as the site of a terrible tragedy that took the lives of sixteen people, who were killed by a tornado on April 2, 2006.  In recent days, Kendra Turner, a high school senior at the high school, was suspended for breaking an important class rule.  What was the serious infraction that merited her suspension?  After a classmate sneezed, Ms. Turned said, “Bless you!”  Please note that she did not say, “God bless you!” which might have earned the umbrage of strict separationists of church and state in the educational establishment.  However, because she said “bless you,” Ms. Turner implicitly invoked the benediction of a Supreme Deity on her classmate, so that was close enough to actually saying “God” in a government-run school.  Accordingly, such speech cannot be tolerated, even in small-town Tennessee.  As a result, the unnamed teacher told Ms. Turner that such language should be confined to church.  According to media reports, Ms. Turner said that the teacher then announced, “We’re not going to have godly speaking in her class!”  (Would anti-godly speaking be permitted in class then?)  When Ms. Turner affirmed her constitutional right to free speech, she was sent to a high school administrator.  School administrators later told Ms. Turner’s parents that the “bless you” was a classroom distraction.  However, the school administrator made no statement regarding whether the instigating sneezing student was a classroom distraction.

Media reports indicate that the high school teacher has demeaned other Christian students since the beginning of this academic year several weeks ago.  In fact, Rev. Becky Winegardner, Ms. Turner’s youth pastor, spoke with a number of other high school students who complained to her about the same teacher and her prior remarks.  Rev. Winegardner reminded the students of their constitutional rights.  In response to Ms. Turner’s suspension, a number of other students wore shirts to school emblazoned with hand-stitched “bless you.”  (Kudos to them!)  Attempts by this writer to obtain a statement from school administrators or Ms. Turner’s teacher regarding Ms. Turner’s suspension were unsuccessful.

Just as the alleged conduct by Ms. Turner’s teacher, anti-Christian opponents regularly attempt to privatize religious expression confining such statements solely to church.  Some extremists would not permit any religious sentiment or expression in the broader society, such in privately-owned places of business or even in political discourse.  I urge that the local school board and superintendent of the Dyer County School District undertake an independent investigation to determine whether Ms. Turner’s teacher violated her constitutional rights.  If they were, then disciplinary measures should be taken against Ms. Turner’s teacher.  If you wish to telephone the high school to express your views, you can reach them at 731.627.2229.  However, the high school was not answering the telephone yesterday.  But it seems to me that if the teacher’s conduct against Ms. Turner can occur in small-town Tennessee, it can happen anywhere in the United States.


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